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MIAMI-As the real estate industry continues to boom in Florida, some US companies are questioning whether the market has overheated and are looking in places like the Bahamas to develop new projects.

That was the case when State College, PA-based developers EIC Resorts chose to build the French Leave Resort, a development on 365 acres in the Eleuthera section of the Bahamas. It will be the first location for Global Hyatt Corp.’s Park Hyatt brand in the Caribbean and Bahamas. EIC Resorts principal Eddie Lauth tells GlobeSt.com that the company has developed numerous waterfront properties in Florida but chose to develop due to a number of factors. “In our opinion, Florida is sold out. The prices are so high and the quality is low,” Lauth says.

EIC looked at numerous locations throughout the Caribbean before selecting Eleuthera for its pink sand beaches and somewhat remote location. In addition, the high elevations of Eleuthera and a reef protecting its shores makes it far less susceptible to tropical storms and hurricanes. Other developments under way in Eleuthera are the Cotton Bay Estates & Villages, the first phase of a 1,500-acre resort community.

Lauth says approximately 80% of investors in the Bahamas hail from the US. The Bahamas offers a number of advantages such as tax neutrality, a steady currency and political stability. In addition, the Bahamian currency is equivalent to the US dollar and recognized for its steady performance and solid value. Investors can put US dollars in the Bahamas and receive US dollars out by approval of the Central Bank of the Bahamas. “Our primary market is buyers from Florida, South Florida and the Northeast,” Lauth says.

The French Leave Resort will feature 120 one-, two- and four-bedroom condominium-hotel residences ranging in size from 700 sf to 2,500 sf and 18 to 24 three- and four-bedroom oceanfront villas ranging in size from 1,800 sf to 2,400 sf. French Leave Marina Village will include 30 600-sf condominium-hotel residences, eight colonial-style homes ranging in size from 1,600 sf to 2,000 sf and yacht slips at the a full-service marina at Governor’s Harbour.

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